Compass Group Real Stories
The Acorn awards
The awards, presented annually by leading industry magazine Caterer & Hotelkeeper, are given to 30 people in the industry who are under 30 and who are considered to be the stars of today and the leaders of tomorrow. The accolades are fiercely contested, and to win one is a huge achievement.
Nils Braude, 30, is general manager for All Leisure at Madejski Stadium, Reading introduced innovative ideas in corporate hospitality at the Madejski Stadium, including bowl food, an à la carte restaurant for match days and retail catering facilities. What impressed the Acorn judges was Nils’ role flexibility, his confident sales and marketing skills and his genuine passion for food.
On his achievement, Nils said: “I’m really, really thrilled to have won an Acorn Award. I’m passionate about my work and have enjoyed every step of my career so far. Working for Compass Group has been very rewarding; being appointed general manager of the Madejski Stadium was an honour and the Acorn is the icing on the cake!”
David Spencer, managing director for Sports Arena within the Sport, Leisure division of Compass Group, said: “Nils is a top team player and we’re all delighted with his success. To have risen to a managerial role so quickly shows how dedicated he is to the industry. What’s great about Nils is his unlimited dedication to getting the job done – he’s confident in his risk-taking and consistently succeeds. We’re proud to count such talented individuals among our employees.”
Food at Leisure
From race courses and stadia to pop awards and tennis – Jane Makings has seen it all. The 24-year-old is one of a number of bright young professionals who has come through Compass Group’s graduate training scheme and is now working for NEC Harlequins as a conference and events sales manager in the Compass Sport, Leisure and Hospitality sector.
Jane actually studied sociology and criminology at Cardiff University, which is where she found out about Compass Group. She worked at the Millennium Stadium and also Windsor Race Course as a hospitality administrator during her holidays and loved being involved. After completing her degree she started looking at graduate schemes in the hospitality sector.
Compass Group’s graduate programme is designed to encourage graduates to seek management careers in the hospitality industry. The scheme familiarises graduates with the Compass business model, products, services, processes and procedures, while providing the practical experience necessary to hone their supervisory and management skills. Whilst most graduates come from hospitality disciplines, as Jane shows, this is not exclusively the case and quality graduates from business and management degrees also enrol.
The 12-month scheme took her first to Twickenham for six months and then on to the Madejski Stadium – home of Reading Football Club. Here she learnt everything involved with the catering industry, from selling corporate deals and working with the public, to operating in the kitchens and organising events.
Jane said: “The whole experience was fantastic, I really got an insight into how large catering operations worked and it made me realise that Compass was the company I wanted to work for. It was great that we had the opportunity to move off site and get involved with other projects, it really varied our learning experience and gave me the foundations I needed to start my career in this industry.,”
Throughout the programme, graduates are supported by mentors from Compass Group - whom Jane believed really helped guide her through the year.
Jane added: “I was really looked after and that can be unusual in graduate schemes. They showed that they were interested in your personal development, and you weren’t just a number on the payroll. I’d recommend the training scheme to anyone who wants to get involved with the catering and hospitality industry. It’s a unique scheme that reaps rewards both for Compass and those that are enrolled. It’s non-stop and the excitement of being involved in such a big organisation is fantastic.”
A day in the life of . . . Darren Tinkler, development chef, Scolarest. Darren has been with Compass Group for eight years, joining Scolarest in January 2006.
In layman’s terms, what exactly do you do?
I organise ‘On Your Marks’ events at primary and senior schools across the country, at which two teams of students working alongside a Scolarest chef race against the clock to create the best healthy dish from a selection of mystery ingredients. I also run ‘lets eat’ cookery classes for children and parents, do ‘taste the world’ theatre cooking demonstrations where I cook the children’s lunch in a wok using fresh ingredients, and hold cookery workshops in primary schools where I teach the children to make things like smoothies, salads, fruit kebabs and bread. More recently, I’ve started working with years nine and ten in their cookery lessons, helping them understand menus and how they can be changed.
That sounds like a lot of work! How busy are you?
I do up to five On Your Marks events per week and I drive about thirty hours a week. One day I could be in Edinburgh, and the next day in Brighton!
Do you enjoy your job?
I love it! It’s so rewarding with great job satisfaction. It’s wonderful seeing the enthusiasm from kids. I enjoy the travel, visiting different schools and working with different people every day. The audience varies a lot depending on the school. You never get bored!
How successful have the initiatives been?
The On Your Marks events in particular have really taken off and I’m booked up several months ahead. Schools are asking for repeat visits one year on. It’s early days for the classes, but they’ve received great feedback. I’m so busy, Scolarest has taken on another person to do the same job as me.
Food for Health
Steam sets the standard for the future of healthcare feeding
Compass Group has developed a revolutionary new food concept – Dream Steam. The secret of its success lies in the ease and speed of the cooking process. Dream Steam uses microwave technology to generate steam, cooking food in minutes. The secret lies in the unique valve within the packaging, which controls the build up of pressure and ensures an array of different foods can be cooked together to produce fresh, nutritious hot meals
The concept is helping Medirest meet the challenges of providing nutritious food at ward level. There is minimal nutritional loss during cooking compared to traditional or cook chill methods of cooking
Steven Hall, business manager for Medirest, explains the benefits further: “We can offer much better quality and choice, as well as flexibility in meal times for patients. This is a real step change in hospital catering.” Other benefits include reduced equipment and space requirements, convenience and improved consistency.
Medirest has rolled out the concept under the brand name ‘Steamplicity’. From trials at Charing Cross and Ravenscourt Park Hospitals in London, the concept has gone from strength to supplying over 10,000 meals a day across 30 hospitals.
Strengthening its appeal to NHS Trusts are the results of independent trials carried out by Bournemouth University, which show that patients served ‘Steamplicity’ meals eat an average 40 percent more of their food than those served the same meal using conventional cook-chill methods.
“We have a real opportunity to change the face of catering – and particularly the way things are done in the public sector,” says Justin Woodley, manager of the Cuisine Centre, where Steamplicity meals are prepared. “The concept offers a real chance to improve the quality of food that reaches the customer’s plate and their whole eating experience. Developing Steamplicity and the Cuisine Centre has offered me the type of career challenge that only comes along once in a lifetime!”
Dream Steam is also steaming ahead in other areas of Compass, with a rollout already underway within Business & Industry and Scolarest. Crucially, we are able to provide nutritious hot meals in premises which have few kitchen facilities and employees or pupils would normally be limited to a cold choice
Career Profile - Paul Brogan, 34, deputy contracts manager at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for ESS Support Services Worldwide, a part of Compass Group.
First position: I joined Sutcliffe (which later became part of Compass Group) in 1987 as a weekend cleaner in the staff college at Sandhurst and later that year became a full-time kitchen porter.
How did your career develop? I moved to become a front-of-house steward in 1989, rising to head steward two years later, responsible for a shift of 18 staff. At the same time, I was house butler for Government House, looking after the needs of the Commandment. In 1995, I joined Trust House Forte for six months as a restaurant manager at Frimley Hall Hotel in Camberley. I wanted to develop my skills in a hotel environment. My intention was always to return to Sandhurst, and I moved back as an assistant manager in the officers’ mess, looking after accommodation bookings, ration accounting, shift rotas and regimental guest nights for up to 100 people.
In 1997, I moved with the manager of Sandhurst to launch the Joint Services Command Staff College contract in Bracknell, becoming overall mess manager. This was a key year for my career development, and I used all the knowledge gained in different departments at Sandhurst to develop the site. When the site was relocated to Swindon in 2000, I became mess manager at Reme Core mess at Aborfield Garrison.
In 2003, I moved back to Sandhurst as senior manager, running operations at the Old College and taking charge of the day-to-day organisation of all mess managers.
What are your current responsibilities? I was promoted to my current role in 2004 and am responsible for the day-to-day running of seven multi-activity and two retail units at Sandhurst. It’s a huge operation, which includes an average 150 functions catering for up to 2,700 people during each of the three 14-week terms.
Why did you decide to work in the foodservice industry? My father has worked at Sandhurst since 1957 and at one point eight family members worked there, so I guess you could say it’s in the blood! My father, a bar manager at New College, is the longest serving staff member at Sandhurst and was recently given the Commandant’s Commendation, issued for exemplary service.
How has the company helped promote your career? I was named ESS Employee of the Year in 2000, which really helped build my profile. ESS enrolled me on the company’s Stepping into Management programme, and sponsored me to obtain NVQs levels 2 and 3 in hospitality – receptions and functions, and my NVQ assessor qualifications.
What’s the best bit about your job? It’s challenging and no day’s the same – I enjoy the pressure of the unknown. I couldn’t ask for a more prestigious or nicer environment to work in.
What are your future aspirations? I want to become overall contracts manager and get my boss’ job! She knows that’s where I want to head and is really supportive. There’s great team spirit at Sandhurst.
A day in the life of . . . Liz Steel, Chef Manager at ESS Support Services Worldwide
Not just one of the boys
Offshore catering is traditionally a male dominated industry but female chef manager, Liz Steel, is keen to encourage more women into the profession. As the only female chef manager at ESS Support Services Worldwide, Liz is responsible for providing three daily meals plus morning rolls and afternoon cakes for the entire WPP Captain platform.
Liz, who is supported by two chefs, including a day time chef and night time baker, and five stewards, said: “We cater for 100 workers on the platform every day and strive to ensure there is always a good choice of meals on offer, including a vegetarian and healthy choice option. My role as chef manager is to guarantee the operation runs smoothly each day, overseeing the running of all the catering, hotel, office and maintenance services as well as making sure that the cabins and recreational areas are kept to a high standard.
“Not only is the platform a work environment; it also serves as a temporary home for the staff who work here on a two week rotation. Therefore, I find that my job is also to provide home comforts by the way of delicious, healthy meals. Perhaps having a woman’s touch is an advantage in this case.”
Whilst it is unusual in the industry to have a female chef manager, Liz feels she has been given every opportunity to progress within ESS: “Although I am the only female manager for ESS, the company has a very positive attitude towards hiring women for senior roles. You find that the lifestyle of offshore working is not suited to everyone, in particular for women who have families to raise, but in recent years more and more female staff are emerging in all offshore careers including catering services.”
Having worked for ESS for 10 years Liz is very happy with the lifestyle offered by offshore work: “Like most offshore staff I work for two weeks of twelve hour days followed by a two week break so I have a clear work/life balance enabling me to make lots of plans for my time at home.”
Ongoing training and development is paramount to a successful offshore catering division, not only in food services but also in survival skills. Having to undergo a specialised survival training course every four years, every offshore team member has to complete exercises such as fire fighting and helicopter crash simulations.
Liz said: “It is really exhilarating taking part in survival training but I fully appreciate the necessity of being able to cope in any given situation. When you are offshore, the nearest emergency services are almost an hour’s helicopter journey away so you need to be fully prepared for the worst scenarios, not only for yourself but for everyone working on the platform. ESS takes the safety of its employees very seriously and does the utmost to ensure that we are all adequately prepared for any situation.”
Peter Bruce, managing director of ESS Support Services Worldwide, said: “Offshore working with ESS offers a great deal of career opportunities from chefs and bakers to project directors and offshore managers We have seen the number of female employees grow tremendously over the last few years and even though Liz is our only female chef manager, we would like to see more women setting their sights high and working towards management positions.”
Crafting a Career
Modern Apprenticeships –A first hand view
Peter Dickinson, is on the Specialised Chefs’ Scholarship at the Bournemouth and Poole College, is being sponsored throughout his three-year course by Restaurant Associates. Peter has just completed his first one-year work placement with Restaurant Associates, working as a commis chef at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer law firm, Peter explains why he’s committed to finishing the course:
“The practical work experience away from the pressures of the course has been really useful, and the basic skills training was invaluable for aspects of the job like reading recipes and measuring. At one point I didn’t know if I wanted to continue with the course, but I was given a lot of support and encouragement by Restaurant Associates and they persuaded me to keep going.”
Peter will complete two one-year placements with Restaurant Associates as part of his course, as well as a consolidation year post-qualification. Progressing from basic preparation duties, he is now able to finish off fine dining dishes and has gained experience working as a guest chef at another site and at two charity dinners.
“I really enjoy what I do and when my course is finished I intend to work my way up to head chef in the hospitality sector and eventually open my own restaurant,” adds Peter.